Some say 2011 is the year of the mobile. According to Dominic Gagnon, CEO at Piranha
and speaker for Infopresse
, it’s not. 2011 is a year for experimentations, pilots and mistakes. I think he hit the nail on the head and this is a good opportunity for me to bust three mobile myths:
Myth #1: QR codes are essential to a mobile campaign
A QR code (Quick Response) is a bar-code that can be read by camera phones. Last weekend I came across a QR code while shopping for new appliances. It said: “Read this code using your smartphone to access our rebate site”, which I did, but only to land on a non-mobile site.
There I was, trying to zoom and browse a gigantic site on my iPhone to figure out if this dish-washer was eligible for a rebate. The sales representative took me out of my misery and told me that if I bought two appliances, I would receive a check for $75 from the manufacturer. Good old fashioned retail still works.
Here’s another interesting use of a QR code. The bus below is from a transportation company in the greater Parisian region of France. Chances are the bus will be constantly moving. If you are a passenger waiting to get on the bus from the sidewalk, you will not see the code because it’s on the back of the bus. If you are following the bus from your car, you are most likely not taking the bus, at least not for this particular route.
In most countries it is illegal to use your cell phone while driving. Encouraging people to use their smartphone QR code reader while driving is not a responsible marketing tactic.
Myth #2: Everybody owns an iPhone.
The top smartphone manufacturers are Nokia in Western Europe, Samsung in the U.S. and Sharp in Japan. Apple, while growing fast, remains a small player. Actually, 96.5% of active mobile devices in the world aren't an Apple product, and 84% of smartphones users don’t use an iPhone (Source: mobithinking.com). How’s that for perspective?
The lesson here is that you need to find out more about your audience before investing in a mobile site, or a mobile app. Who are your customers and what devices do they use? What are their expectations and preferences and what are you planning to achieve through your mobile presence?
Regardless of your final strategy, testing with a small focus group will help refine the ultimate project and make your customers happy.
Myth #3: SMS is dead.
SMS are character-limited text messages that can be sent and received via a mobile phone. They seem pale in comparison to the emails, apps, social media and payment options that mobility can offer to users, through sophisticated and colourful interfaces. Nevertheless, the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) indicated that 6.1 trillion SMS were sent in 2010 and Mobithinking.com qualified SMS as “the king of mobile messaging”.
Indeed, SMS is fast, instant, and interactive. Marketers can reach their audience within seconds, and if the recipient’s phone is turned off, the message will still be delivered at a later time.
Dominic Gagnon provided a great example about a Sushi Bar in Quebec City. Legally speaking, sushi must be sold the day it is made. Otherwise, the restaurant must throw it away. In order to reduce their waste, the Sushi Bar sends out text alerts to their customers every day around 5pm to announce how many sushi boxes are left. By doing so, they’ve manage to reduce the waste by 98.9% (and make more money too).
Mobile is definitely on the move and 2011 may not be the year of the mobile just yet. Marketers are still getting familiar with these new possibilities and soon they will learn enough to adjust their initiatives in order to make us all crave more in 2012.